Brain City (2014)

Multimedia installation by Noah Hutton in NYC’s Times Square


A journey through the brain on the billboards of Times Square, calling into question the ways in which scientific imagery simultaneously reveals and advertises inner worlds. From New Scientist:

Strangely, what makes Brain City so effective is the very lack of context and exposition. To most passers-by, it is just a sudden burst of immersive light and colour, an obvious break from the constantly looping and scrolling brand names and logos – which return as soon as it ends.

“There are some interesting issues raised by what immediately follows the images on the screens,” says Hutton. “In some cases you see the last flash of neurons, and then it cuts directly back to a huge lingerie model on a beach. We live in a time where the explosion of interest in the brain has led to the commoditisation of the mind – the idea that scientific images of the brain add direct, explanatory weight to observations of human thought, or that you can drink this drink or play this game and your brain will ‘improve’.

“So I like that this piece brings the brain into Times Square without trying to sell you on it” Hutton adds. I’m going for wonder and awe, and that uncanny – maybe unsettling – feeling when the huge ad returns.

WNYC Interview

Times Square Arts Alliance Project Information